This unit revolves around the history of settlement of Rēkohu and the ways in which humans interact with their environments and each other, as well as the causes of migration and exploration.

This unit could be about the settlement of any ‘fresh lands,’ but the Rēkohu context is used because the ‘settlement’ by three different ethnicities is well documented and recorded.

Please note: The unit is written for /aimed at Level 3 – 4 of the NZ Curriculum. If you are teaching a different level, simply change the A.O.s to suit. The activities and tasks will still be relevant. Adjust your assessment expectations and let the learners loose!

The activities can be modified ‘on the run’.

Curriculum Links

English - Receptive

  • Show an understanding of how texts are shaped for different purposes and audiences.
  • Show an increased understanding of how language features are used for effect within and across texts.
  • Has an increasing vocabulary that can be used to make meaning of texts.
  • Shows an increasing knowledge of how a range of text conventions can be used appropriately and effectively.

English - Productive

  • Integrate sources of information, processes, and strategies confidently to identify, form, and express ideas.
  • Creates a range of texts by integrating oral, written, and visual sources of information confidently.
  • Show an understanding of how to shape texts for different purposes and audiences.
  • Use a range of language features appropriately, showing an understanding and appreciation of their effect.
  • Uses an increasing vocabulary to create precise meaning.
  • Uses a range of text conventions appropriately, effectively, and with increasing accuracy.

Social Sciences

  • Understand how people pass on and sustain culture and heritage for different reasons and that this has consequences for people.
  • Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places, and environments.
  • Understand that events have causes and effects.
  • Understand how people participate individually and collectively in response to community challenges

By the end of this unit, Akoranga will be able to

  • Produce a report that organises and links ideas logically, that has language choices appropriate to the audience
  • Gather, select, record and present information from a wide variety of sources using different technologies
  • Select and read independently, for information and enjoyment, a range of texts on the subject of the Chatham Islands, its settlers and why people went there to live.
  • Discuss language meanings and ideas in a range of texts, relating their understandings to experiences, purpose and audience
  • Explain how the environment of Rekohu was used by early Moriori and how they adapted to the conditions
  • Identify how the activities of the settlers that arrived on Rekohu, (Moriori, Pakeha and Maori) are reflected in the environment today.
  • Analyse and explain alternative outcomes for Moriori if they had not adhered to Nunuku’s Law and the covenant of peace in 1835

Setting: Rēkohu
Perspective: Through the lens of history
Key Competencies Focus: Participating and Contributing

Teaching and Learning Activities

Overview: In this unit akoranga read, research and produce a report on early Moriori, European or Māori settlers to Rēkohu (the Chathams).


Kaiako will set up a Topic Zone (learning centre) with books, school journals, newspaper cuttings, photos, maps etc (see list of resources accompanying this unit.) Include information from;


Where in the world are our ancestors from?

Discuss as a class:

What does immigration and migrant mean?

Where did our ancestors come from?

Create a class-wide google map (click here) and ‘pin’ the origins of each akoranga and the kaiako to it.

Why do you think they left their homelands to come to New Zealand?


Person of Interest:

This task focuses akoranga on how to find out hokopapa (genealogical information) about well-known identities, including where they came from.

This in turn will give some insight into why they emigrated and settled in New Zealand. That learning can then be transferred to the required learning for this Settlement unit focusing on Rēkohu.

  • In pairs or in small groups, choose one of the characters listed on the P.O.I. page and spend no more than twenty minutes researching their background. You are looking for information around their country of origin.

It may well be their grandparents, or their great, great, great grandparents that were the first arrivals in New Zealand  of that family. Search for the place of birth.

  • Complete the form at the bottom of the P.O.I. page.
  • Print (Copy-paste into ‘doc) and save for assessment, or post on your own blog as an assessment item.

Now, choosing an ancestor of their own, akoranga repeat the above task and then create a short, but accurate presentation (powerpoint, prezi, Google slides, keynote etc) about the situation in that ancestor’s homeland set in the time leading up to when they left.


  • the political situation there then  (you will have to search for this information)
  • their political views  (harder to find, but consider their occupation – that may provide a clue)
  • ethnic divisions
  • employment and/or wealth
  • social structures
  • opportunities for improvement
  • threats/strengths
  • traditions

Share with the whole class/group

In groups of 4 use marker pens and large paper to create a mind map that shows only the similarities between each person’s backgrounds

Post the mind-maps around the room.

Class discussion about similar trends that we all have in common. Then look at the diversity and the differences, but treat them as strengths (ie: diversity is strength in any group.)

Discuss which (if any) traditions are associated with particular cultures?

Rēkohu Immigration

Read the following articles to the students.

Early-Rēkohu, Early Chatham Islands and Early Wharekauri, in that order.


Identify, in order, the three groups who have colonised Rēkohu. Discuss their purpose. (Why did they end up on Rēkohu? How did they get there? Why did they stay? Did others of the same people follow?)


Prior knowledge assessment:

Students create their own “Why Rēkohu” sheet (using Aotearoa sheet as a guide) for each of the three groups: Moriori, European and Māori .

Practice Activities

Practice Tasks

Practice Activity 1: Moriori

15 minutes Group discussion” What was life likely to have been like for Moriori before the Chatham Islands were ‘discovered’ by Europeans? Record ideas and responses (Groups must have a scribe, facilitator, spokesperson and A3 paper and pen.) Spokesperson from each group to report back to class. A3 sheet (put on display at the end) Discuss the similarities and differences between each group's sheet.

Practice Activity 2: Europeans

15 minutes Group discussion.“What was life like in New Zealand for those first European settlers? (As an aside: What did they bring with them that improved or worsened life for Moriori?) Record ideas and responses (Groups must have a scribe, facilitator, spokesperson and A3 paper and pen.) Spokesperson from each group to report back to class. A3 sheet (put on display at the end) Discuss similarities and differences between each groups sheet.

Practice Activity 3: Maori

15 minutes Group discussion. “What was life like for early Maori in New Zealand before the Europeans arrived?” Record ideas and responses (Groups must have a scribe, facilitator, spokesperson and A3 paper and pen.) Spokesperson from each group to report back to class. A3 sheet (put on display at the end) Discuss similarities and differences between each groups sheet.

Core Activities:

Change up to a discussion on the original inhabitants of Rēkohu: Te Imi Moriori.

“What do we know about the lives of the early Moriori inhabitants of Rēkohu?”

Stringing Our Ideas Together
Use a ball of string for this activity.  Have students sit in a circle.

1. The group is asked to think about what they already know about what life was like for the Moriori people on Rēkohu before any Europeans arrived. Remind them of the above practice activity.

Begin with an example, stating one fact, such as “Moriori lived together in extended families in isolated communities, shifting with the seasons and weather.”

The teacher then holds the free end of the ball of string and passes the ball on to someone else in the circle to contribute their idea. They then hold on to the string and pass the ball on to someone else. After everyone has shared their ideas, the number of connections in the circle shows how much students collectively know about the topic.

Get someone to photograph the ‘connections’ and post on the class blog.

2. What do we know about early European settlers to Rēkohu?

Use a ball of string again for this activity.  Have students sit in a circle.  Each student is asked to think about what they already know about what life was like for the early European settlers. What were some of the challenges these early settlers faced?

Begin with an example stating one fact, eg. “It took at least 3 months to sail from England to the Chathams (or NZ) in the early 1800s, in very cramped conditions,” or “Some early Europeans were involved in whaling or sealing or farming.” (continue as above)

Photograph the resulting ‘connections’

3. What do we know about early Māori settlers to Rēkohu?

Use a ball of string again for this activity.  Have students sit in a circle.  Each student is asked to think about what they already know about what life was like for the early Māori settlers. What were some of the challenges these early settlers faced?

Begin with an example stating one fact, eg. “The Māori suffered during the sea voyage to the Chathams,” or “Early Māori had different traditions to the native people.” (continue as above)

Photograph the resulting ‘connections’  Compare all 3 photographs and discuss why it is that the group knows more about any one aspect than the others.

Overview – Picture Dictation

This provides an opportunity for students to record information in a visual way.

Divide the class into three groups: Moriori, European and Māori .

Each group is given the link to the page or a printout of the page:  Why Leave Home.

As they read each of the statements each group should record details visually on a 3 by 3 picture grid focusing exclusively on their target group.

Drag out at least 9 facts from the page / printout. Complete a (3×3) picture with these facts. When finished, students get together, one from each group and tell each other about their early settlers’ (Moriori/European/Māori ) life using their completed picture dictation as a prompt.

How can we find out about the past?

Think about how people in the future will find out what life was like for us at the beginning of the twenty-first century.  What “clues” might we leave for people in the future?

Each student to create a chart that answers these 5 questions:

  1. How will people be able to find out about me in the future?
  2. How will they know what i did for a job?
  3. How will they know how many people lived in my house?
  4. How will people know what sort of foods I ate?
  5. How will people be able to find out about the rest of my family?
  6. Why do I think it will be important for anyone to know these things?

Share answers as a class.


Looking at what we know of the environment on the islands and the likely needs of each group of people at the time (historical) that they arrived and lived on Rēkohu,  lets discuss how you think that the environment was used by early Moriori / European /Māori settlers?

How do you think that some of the activities of early settlers may be reflected in the environment still today? (Town sites, cemeteries, fences, hedges, Pine Trees, roads, building sites)
(Apart from cleared land ie; pasture and deforested areas, there is little obvious evidence of the early settlers on the Chatham Islands.

See environmental checklist page for responses).

Using whiteboard (whole-class) or large sheets of paper (groups):  Brainstorm different ways or methods that we could employ to find out about the past.

Akoranga  will be able to use these ideas when finding out about the life of early settlers, eg. the fact that Moriori had an oral language and a record of this language was not compiled until well after the arrival of both Europeans and Māori and the population had fallen by over 80% (which means that there could easily be influences of these two groups in the recorded language of the third)

Discuss how this would affect the ways we can find out about individual people’s lives during this period.

Akoranga choose any two ideas from the brainstorming and investigate how they can tell or remind people about the past.

Download here

Akoranga will present their ideas using the “Ways of Remembering” chart. Download here


Report summaries.

Let’s talk about Reports.

Share the “Welcome” report with the  class. (The purpose of this reading and discussion is for akoranga to think about the structure of the report.)

Discuss without recording anything: (these are some of the features of a report)

  • What is the purpose of this report?
  • Does the report state a position or problem, or discuss an event?
  • Does the way the author has grouped together ideas or information help you to find out more about the topic?
  • How is the report structured?
  • Is there an opening statement?
  • Is there a series of facts about various aspects of the subject?
  • Have paragraphs been used to organise information?
  • Have diagrams, photographs, illustrations been used?
  • Is there a conclusion?
  • What are the language features?
  • Has the correct tense been used?
  • This report is ‘dated’. Do you think that reports still written this way? Why?
  • What is the report about?
  • What are the key points and facts?
  • How could we turn these facts into questions?
  • Has the author used illustrations, diagrams or maps?


Get students in small groups to discuss and then list the features of a report.

  • Revisit the example.
  • After akoranga have re-read it, write down the purpose of the report on the whiteboard.
  • Write down the key ideas or phrases that link to the purpose of the report.
  • Group pieces of information under the key ideas, connecting them by links.
  • Order the key ideas ready for writing a summary of the report.
  • Write the summary with akoranga.
  • Display this report summary in the classroom for future reference.


Reading/Writing a Report
Using copies of the “Settlers Lot,”  have akoranga create their own fictional report using the information provided.

Peer Review:

When completed, students, working in pairs, read and discuss each others reports and discuss how well each has covered structure, key points, language features (correct tense) linking verbs and descriptive language. See above for features of a report.


Shared Writing

Kaiako models writing a report .

Kaiako selects a topic, discusses with akoranga and writes down everything alkoranga know and with akoranga, generates questions. Discuss with akoranga; “Where will we find information to help with our inquiry?”

Using suggestions from akoranga, write a report. Analyse and annotate the completed writing with the students:

      • Have we followed the features of a report?
      • Have we included relevant facts?
      • Have we grouped the information/facts (paragraphs)?
      • Have we sequenced and linked ideas?
      • Have we written a conclusion?

Display the modeled writing in the class.


Task:  Independent Report Writing

  • Akoranga select a topic, related to the settlement of Rēkohu to write a report on.
  • They will read about, plan questions, take notes and present information/findings of their inquiry to share with the class.
  • Akoranga will use the “I know” sheet to help them generate research questions. Students will conference with teacher to ensure questions are manageable.

If the students experience difficulty generating questions, they should be reminded of question words such as who, when, what, how, why.

Introduce the self assessment sheet that the students are to use before beginning their task.

Akoranga select relevant resources that can be used to answer their questions. They read the resources to locate answers to their questions and record the answers beneath the question. Encourage Akoranga to record only the answers to their questions.

1.    Using the I know sheet students write down key points as they uncover them.

2.   Akoranga draft an introductory paragraph and conclusion to their report.

3.   Complete the draft writing. Edit and proof read. Share the report with a partner. Encourage the students to give feedback based on the self assessment for the writing.

4.   Publish on own (or class) blog/vlog.

Kaiako to print a copy of each report and bind them into a class book about Early Chatham Island Settlers.

Assessment of Report

  • Self Assessment   Click here >>>>>>>>
  • Assessment Rubric   Click here >>>>>>>>
  • Assessment of Report against exemplars (See NZ Exemplars online)


  • Contribution and participation in discussions around immigration and  “Where did our ancestors come from?”
  • Understandings of the implications of immigration in both historical and modern contexts
  • Contribution and participation in discussions around “why did they leave and come to NZ / Rēkohu?”

Person Of Interest

  • Completed profile on a person of interest.
  • Completed profile on at least one ancestor
  • Details of profile
  • Contribution towards the profile (if a shared task)
  • Depth of research and understanding of motivating factors
  • Evaluation of benefits for those that emigrated

Teacher’s Assessment (Unit Evaluation)

How well did the akoranga engage with this unit?

Did all akoranga achieve all of the learning outcomes? If not, why not?

What would you do differently if you were to teach this unit again?

What have you learned about Rēkohu and Moriori as a result of this teaching and learning experience?

What do you now want to know?